March 04, 2017

Jazz Is PHSH: He Never Spoke a Word

It makes sense to jazz and funk up the music of Phish. Some of the songs of their vast catalog are within those genres, but it is still a challenge to rearrange it in order to qualify as proper jazz or funk (or both). He Never Spoke a Word, the studio debut by the Jazz Is PHSH collective, is both a labour of love as well as a smart reinvention of the Vermont jamband's output.

Founded by Adam and Matthew Chase the band has been playing for a couple of years with an ever changing lineup, building up a huge list of guest players - two of them were were part of Phish's Giant Country Horns and Cosmic Country Horn phases. They gladly accepted the invitation to play on the record. Opener Ghost sets the tone, with flute, keyboards and saxophone taking turns at supplying the main melody. This "relay race" of musicians is the key for the Jazz IS PHSH approach, a big band where soloists and sections taking turns ate leading the way.

They show some restraint, perusing tension and release, to get low down dirty funky in Foam and 46 Days, while sticking closer to the originals during Camel Walk and Magilla. Jazz Is PHSH are able to switch from monochrome to full HD colour, making He Never Spoke a Word far more than just a tribute album. The only odd thing is the decision to split Alumni Blues and A Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues into two separate tracks, but that won't happen when they play it live. They have a show in Phish's hometown South Burlington on April 7th. It's highly likely that one of them will sit in with them.

Jazz Is PHSH:
Matthew Chase: guitar
Adam Chase: drums
Holly Bowling: keyboards
Chris Bullock: saxophone
Kofi Burbridge: keyboards, flute
Dennis Chambers: drums
Jeff Coffin: saxophone
Chris Deangelis: bass
Scott Flynn: trombone
Carl Gerhard: trumpet
Grant Green, Jr.: guitar
Derrick Johnson: trombone
Lenny Pettinelli: keyboards
Michael Ray: trumpet
Josh Thomas: keyboards
Anthony Wellington: bass

He Never Spoke a Word is released on Chase Records. Buy ir (vinyl, CD) from their website. Full stream on Soundcloud. Tracks:

  1. Ghost
  2. Cars Trucks Buses
  3. Weigh
  4. Foam
  5. 46 Days
  6. Dog Log
  7. Lawn Boy
  8. Meat
  9. Camel Walk
  10. Magilla
  11. Alumni Blues
  12. A Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues

Live dates:
  • 03/05 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
  • 04/06 Somerville, MA @ Thunder Road,
  • 04/07 South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
  • 04/08 Asbury Park, NJ @ Wonder Bar
  • 04/09 Shepherdstown, WV @ Opera House Live
  • 04/14 Seattle, WA @ Nectar
  • 04/15 Portland, OR @ Star Theater
  • 04/20 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live


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